Julie Graber & Daphne Minkoff
First, some context about our friendship. We met in third grade. Memphis, Tennessee. Our friendship shares the common bonds of locale – humidity, Southern accents, Southern Jews, and a crew of friends, BBQ, and our desire to move away from the Delta. We were close friends in high school, attended the same university and then drifted apart as life pulled each of us to explore different, new directions.
Julie moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico and became a photographer. Daphne went to graduate school for her MFA (Mast of Fine Art) on the East coast and then moved to Seattle to continue her career as an oil painter. We stayed in touch, mostly through the grapevine, until many years later our paths crossed again here in the Pacific Northwest. Now as adults, we meet for coffee. Walks and recipe exchanges. Book club. Thanksgiving feasts. Shared experiences of travel. And reminisce about our shared history.
And then a pandemic happened.
When Covid brought our world to a standstill – anxiety grew. It was not just the disruption of normal activities causing stress, but we realized that our relationships with friends and the way in which we easily connect and interact was going to change too.
This daily photograph exchange was built out of a desire to stay connected. It is funny to think that even though we live less than three miles apart, the distance felt like an ocean. The anxiety that arose when the world suddenly looked different made us reach out to each other in ways that stretched our imaginations. This photo exchange calmed our nerves. We decided that despite the challenges of parenting, working, cooking, cleaning, checking on our families near and far, we needed to share ourselves creatively – it was a salve.
For exactly one year, we sent photos to each other every day via text. Sometimes there were captions, sometimes just the images. The initial idea of this photo exchange was to calm and connect us. After a year of this daily photo exchange, we wanted to capture what this connection meant for us. This installation is a way for us to share our visual diaries and create a project around the idea of documenting daily life, searching for beauty in the mundane, and finding a way to stay together, even when apart.